Three Simple Lines
A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku
“This is a book about haiku as a practice, as a Way in the world,” Goldberg writes, “encouraging waking up to the most ordinary moments of human life - an insect on your chair, the hands of a clock, the splash of a frog. Haiku is the poetry of poetry, before you form ideas and hopes and dreams.”
A haiku is three simple lines, yes, but it is also, as Goldberg’s teacher Allen Ginsberg put it, three lines that “make the mind leap.” A good one, he said, lets the mind experience “a small sensation of space which is nothing less that God.” As many spiritual practices seek to do, the haiku’s spare yet acute noticing of the immediate, and ordinary, grounds the reader in the pure awareness of now.
In repeated trips to Japan from her home in the American Southwest, Goldberg takes us to the beginnings of this great endeavor - highlighting the history of the form that dates back to the seventeenth century. She shows why masters such as Basho and Issa are so revered, discovers Chiyo-ni (an important woman haiku master), provides insight into writing and reading haiku, and beautifully describes her travels to the homes of the haiku masters.
Filled with the best haiku translations Three Simple Lines is also sprinkled with stories of Goldberg’s travels and dedication to Zen teachers she has encountered, always with a nod to her original Zen master, Katagiri Roshi.
As a fellow seeker, Goldberg revels in everything she encounters, including food and family, painting and fashion, frogs and ponds. She also experiences and allows readers to share in the small, spontaneous moments of awakening that haiku promises.
Haiku is a secret love of many. Three Simple Lines is a soothing balm and a surprise for people you’d never think had the inclination. Reading and writing haiku in this hard time is both a solace and redemption from our pain and suffering.
About the Author: Natalie Goldberg is the author of fifteen books, including classic bestseller Writing Down the Bones, which has changed the way writing is taught in the United States. She has also written the beloved memoir Long Quiet Highway; the novel Banana Rose; Living Color, about her painting; and her legacy book, The True Secret of Writing. She has taught writing as a practice for the past forty-five years nationally and internationally. She lives in northern New Mexico. For more information, please visit www.NatalieGoldberg.com.
**Hedra Note: Although I have not yet read this book entirely, I must say that I am really enjoying the story of her travels and encounters, aside from the Haiku poetry itself.
Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg
• 176 pages • $22.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-697-1
Book Release from New World Library